Giuliano Gemma (billed as Montgomery Wood) as Ringo in the spaghetti westerns from Dessario Tessari

Spaghetti Blu-ray: A pair of ‘Ringo’s and ‘A Fistful of Dynamite’

A Pistol for Ringo/The Return of Ringo: Two Films by Dessario Tessari (Arrow, Blu-ray) A Fistful of Dynamite (Kino Lorber, Blu-ray) Duccio Tessari is not one of the directors known for spaghetti westerns. In fact, he only directed two in his long and successful career, both with Giuliano Gemma (billed as Montgomery Wood) playing against […]

Szabolcs Thuróczy and Zoltán Fenyvesi in the film by Attila Till from Hungary

‘Kills on Wheels’ – Wheelchair assassins on Netflix

The offbeat Hungarian thriller Kills on Wheels (Hungary, 2016) turns a dark subject into an unexpected crime tale of triumph and hope with a streak of black comedy. Zoli and Barba are disabled teenagers in a rehabilitation facility where they meet Janos (Szabolcs Thuróczy), a former fireman now paralyzed from the waist down. Gruff and […]

Ava Gardner and James Mason star in the ravishing romantic drama from Albert Lewin

‘Pandora and the Flying Dutchman’ on FilmStruck

I have a soft spot for Albert Lewin, a literary Hollywood writer/producer turned director with a continental sensibility and an eye for handsome imagery (if not always cinematic storytelling). His productions tended toward literary adaptations (The Good Earth, which he produced, and The Picture of Dorian Gray, which he scripted and directed) but Pandora and […]

The Italian TV crime drama

‘Romanzo Criminale: The Complete Series’ on Amazon Prime Video

Romanzo Criminale: The Complete Series (Italy, 2008-2010) – In the late 1970s, ambitious young thug Lebano (short for The Lebanese) hatches a plan to leave the petty robberies behind and, in partnership with another gang, take over the drug trade in Rome, a city that is divided up by a number of small, unorganized gangs. […]

‘Dawson City: Frozen Time’ – Film/history on FilmStruck

Bill Morrison’s films straddle film history and avant-garde expressionism, mining the wealth of silent film history and exploring the abstract beauty of decaying nitrate film, a particularly volatile medium that breaks down over time. Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016) celebrates the “Dawson Film Find” of 1978, thousands of reels of film buried in the permafrost, […]

Jean Rollin’s weird, trashy, and dreamy ‘Requiem for a Vampire’ on Amazon Prime

There was no director like Jean Rollin, the French horror fantasist who died in the waning days of 2010 at the age of 72 and left behind a strange and wonderful (and sometimes horrible) legacy in his distinctive films. His reputation never really extended beyond cult circles but the weird sensibility and distinctive style and […]

Juliette Binoche vacations in ‘Slack Bay’ on Netflix

Bruno Dumont, once the chronicler of misery, alienation, and violence in rural France, has become a director of odd comedies with dark edges, first with the miniseries Li’l Quinquin and now Slack Bay (France, 2016). Slack Bay is set on the coast of Northern France in 1910, where the eccentric and wealthy Van Peteghem family arrives to […]

Ray MIlland stars in Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe adaptation

Roger Corman’s ‘The Premature Burial’ on Amazon Prime

Vincent Price starred in all of Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe adaptations but one. Ray Milland took the lead in The Premature Burial (1962), playing Guy Carrell, an aristocrat with crippling fear that he will be buried alive due to a family history of catalepsy. Corman brings the fear home in the opening scene: an […]